I must have one of those faces – the type that announces to the world “Tell me your life story! List your woes! All welcome here!”
It’s one of the reasons that random people feel free to share the minute details of their lives, plant themselves in front of me to tell me what colour my aura is, or stare pointedly at me when having loud public discussions with invisible companions. It was an asset when I was a reporter – people used to open up at the drop of a hat – but it’s not so great when I’m trying to read on the crowded train during my morning commute.
But perhaps it’s more than just an open face and a seemingly approachable manner. Perhaps there’s a touch of the “there but for the grace of God – or whoever – go I” to it?
Let’s face it, which of us can honestly say we’ve never heard those little voices jabbering away in our heads? The difference between us and the crazed, addled loon on the Underground is probably little more than good fortune and circumstances.
I have had an internal dialogue going on for most of my life. Instead of a little devil on one shoulder squabbling with her angelic alter-ego on the other, a la Loony Toons, I usually eavesdrop on heated discussions between my timid Inner Wimp and her vitriolic sister, my Inner Bitch.
Just like the Devil has all the best tunes, my Inner Bitch has all the best lines. Stinging one-liners dripping in acid roll off her tongue, she takes no prisoners and has zero tolerance for morons. She always has the perfect put-down ready.
I’d love to let her out to play more often, but – as my Inner Wimp often reminds me – I live with other people and I have to think of their feelings to get on in life.
So, despite her meek ways, it’s the Wimp that usually wins the day thanks to the fact that the side of my character she represents is shored up to the hilt by social engineering that dictates that we laugh it off when someone wounds up, smile sweetly at folk whose faces we want to flay with razor-sharp nails (if I hadn’t bitten them down to their ragged cuticles) and nod wisely at the idiotic dross they spew out.
La Bitch is far more impressive and she wears LOTS of dramatic red and black and plunging necklines. So, it really makes me want to kick my own ankles when I let the beige-clad buttoned-up Wimp push me about yet again (she’s SO passive-aggressive).
When I was young, I used to hear (imagine?) two voices from the top of my wardrobe – mean, taunting voices that tried to rip away my self-esteem. Luckily for me, they stopped the day I managed to climb up to tell them to shut up (before leaping off onto my bed, flapping my arms wildly, just in case I might fly… just a little).
Maybe that’s why I can’t bring myself to condemn the wild-eyed woman walking down the street shouting at the skies.
Perhaps the only difference between her and me is that she never made it to the top of her wardrobe?